Prof. Steve Stewart
16 February 2015
Alveda King Interview
Alfred Daniel King lay on the bridge during the Selma march, knocked down and exhausted. His daughter, Alveda King, wasn’t there to see it, but she’s seen the pictures and remembers the violence.
Niece of the more famous Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Alveda says her father was every bit the man her uncle was.
“He was a man of God who deeply loved his brother,” King said. The brothers worked hand-in-hand for much of the civil rights movement.
Despite her father coming back from Selma and telling his children how bad it was, King says she was well-versed in non-violent protest by that time and was not shaken by the events, even though she was just 14 years old.
“We were not afraid,” King said. “We knew God was with us. We had to remain nonviolent and trust God.”
All protesters were trained in this line of thinking before going out to march. They all signed a covenant to follow the ten commandments of the civil rights movement.
The first commandment was “Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.” The rest stressed following those teachings through nonviolent protest.
While King didn’t march at Selma, she did put her training to test two years earlier when she participated in the Children’s Crusade in Birmingham.
On May 2, 1963, the protesting children skipped school and gathered at the 16th Street Baptist Church to get their marching orders before going on their protest.
Some leaders, including Malcolm X, criticized the decision to use children in the protest, but the march was effective in showing the injustice that was happening.
Just over a week later, on May 11, 1963, A.D. King’s home was bombed.
Alveda King said the thing she remembers most about the bombing was her father calming down the ensuing riot.
According to her, he grabbed a bullhorn and stood on top of a car and said “Don’t fight back; don’t throw rocks. If you’re going to kill somebody, kill me; but I’d rather you pray.”
After the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, A.D. King used his words not to calm a riot, but to calm his daughter.
Alveda said she was devastated by the murder, but her father helped her stay focused on nonviolence.
“White people marched with us, prayed with us, and died with us,” he said “The devil killed your uncle.”
A year later, A.D. King was found dead in his swimming pool. The cause of death was labeled as an accident.
Alveda King continued to fight for civil rights and is still involved today, not only for continued racial equality, but for the rights of the unborn child.
She is a non-denominational minister and is the head of African-American Outreach with Priests for Life.